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was only a detachment of the company which visited Scotland, the main body exhibiting at Court during the same seasons, and it is natural to suppose Shakespeare was with it, especially when we consider that he was at this time exceedingly busy with the dramas, which shortly after came out in rapid succession. All things considered, it is not probable, though quite possible, that he was ever in Scotland.
In the year 1592 the plague broke out in London, and an order was issued by the Privy Council to shut up all theatres and places of public concourse as a preventative to infection. Shakespeare, thus finding “Othello's occupation gone," took the opportunity of his forced leisure to issue a volume of poems, written some years before, entitled " Venus and Adonis." The poetry is of a most licentious character, and could not have appeared in a purer age, but its popularity was decided, and several editions were rapidly issued. It was followed by " Lucrece," which also became very popular. These are the only poems of Shakespeare which were published under his own sanction. They were dedicated to Lord Southampton, and obtained the immediate patronage of the Earl, who presented him shortly after with £1000.
It has been supposed that this munificent donation was made to enable Shakespeare to meet his 'share of the expense of building a new theatre, "The Globe.” This theatre was opened in 1595; it was a large round building of wood, open to the sky, while only the stage was protected from the weather by an overhanging roof well thatched. In bad weather or in winter the players adjourned to “The Blackfriars," which was entirely covered in. "The Globe was a great success, most probably because in it were first acted the noble dramas written by Shakespeare at this period.
Shakespeare was now on the highway to wealth and fame. His profits from the Britannia and Globe must have been very large, and he had besides his regular salary as an actor, which would enable him to make his frequent investments in the purchase of houses and lands in his native town. In 1597 he purchased New Place, one of the best houses in Stratford ; in 1602 we find him acquiring, for £320, 107 acres of arable land, which he annexed to New Place; and in 1605 he purchased, for £440, a share in a lease of tithes at Stratford. Money at that time represented about five times the amount it does at present, so that the sums invested would come to no inconsiderable sum for a man in his position.
In the midst of his own success, our dramatist had the deepest sympathy with his brother poets who were struggling into fame; the petty jealousies which but too often arise among authors were unfelt by Shakespeare; & striking example of this occurs in his introduction of Ben Jonson to public notice. Ben Jonson, at this time unknown, had offered a play to one of the theatres ; the person who received it, after carelessly and superciliously turning it over, rejected it. kespeare luckily happened to notice it, saw the merit of the piece, and brought it before the public. It was the beginning of a bright career for Jonson, and the friendship thus begun seems to have endured through life. It is said that Shakespeare acted in 1598 in ore of Ben Jonson's plays.
Shakespeare seems, up to 1604, to have retained his position as an actor. A document, recently discovered by Mr Halliwell, shows that on the 15th March of that year, “4} yards skarlet red cloth” was supplied to Shakespeare for his dress in a representation to be made before King James on his first visit to London. Shakespeare's name appears first on the list of the company, who were similarly supplied. James, on his accession, took the drama under his special patronage, and by a warrant, dated 17th May, 1603, he authorised Shakespeare's company, under the title of “The King's Players," to exercise their "arte and faculty” throughout his dominions. Shakespeare, in Macbeth, acknowledged this patronage, and is said to have delighted James by describing the long line of Scottish kings, who would at last
“ The twofold balls and treble sceptre carry. It is remarkable that the first proclamation of James closed the theatres on Sunday, on which day they had been accustomed to be open. This was only a sop for the time to the religious public, for we know, from the entries in the “ Accounts of the Revels,” that on Sunday, 4th November, 1604, the Merry Wives of Windsor was played before the King. This is quite in keeping with the “Book of Sports” which he afterwards forced on the community.
Shakespeare appears shortly after this to have retired from the duties of an actor, and to have confined himself to the writing of plays for the theatres with which he was connected. In 1608, owing to an attempt of the Corporation of London to buy up the Black. friars Theatre, we ascertain that the value of Shakespeare's share was reckoned at £1433, which at the present money value would be about £7000; so that, with his share in the Globe Theatre, and his ronts at Stratford, he must have been rapidly becoming a rich
We have no distinct information regarding Shakespeare from 1609 to 1612, when he appears to have quitted London and retired to Stratford. It would seem that, like a wise and prudent man, before doing this he sold his interest in the two theatres. It was well for him he did so, as in 1613 the Globe Theatre was entirely destroyed by fire ; some pyrotechnic display in one of the plays had set fire to the thatched roof of the stage, and in a short time the whole was in ashes. It is probable that many of the original MSS. of Shakespeare may have perished in the flames.
Shakespeare we now find settled down in the quiet pursuits of a country squire. He is also reported to have entered on a course of expenditure more commensurate with his wealth, and one tradition gives the extravagant estimate of his spending £1000 a-year; it is certain, however, that he must now have been living in the style of a gentleman,
In February, 1616, Shakespeare gave away his daughter Judith in marriage to Thomas Quiney, a vintner and wine-merchant in Stratford. She was four years older than her husband; and, apparently in connection with this marriage, Shakespeare, in the month following, signed his will, which had been prepared some time before: the signature is in a feeble hand, and not in entire accordance with the "perfect health” mentioned in the preamble of the deed. It was not signed a day too soon, for in less than a month after, the dramatist was no more.
What was the nature of Shakespeare's illness we scarcely know; a diary of the Vicar of Stratford, which approaches nearly to the times of Shakespeare, reports that "Shakespeare, Drayton, and Ben Jonson had a merie meeting, and itt seems drank too hard, for Shakespeare died of a feavour there contracted.” The tradition is not discredited by some of his commentators; unfortunately such “merie meetings” were too common in that age. But be this as it may, the great dramatist died on 23rd April, 1616, aged 53, at New Place, Stratford.
On the 25th April, his body was consigned to its last resting-place, on the north side of the chancel of Stratford Church. On a flat grave-stone is this inscription :
Good frend, for lesvs sake, forbeare
Shakespeare's wife survived her husband only seven years. She died 6th August, 1623.
Hamnet, his only son, had died in 1596, at the age of eleven.
His younger daughter, Judith, married to Thomas Quiney, died in 1662. She had three sons, all of whom predeceased her without issue.
His eldest daughter, Susanna, wife of Dr Hall, died in 1649. She left one daughter, Elizabeth, who was twice married, first, in 1626, to Thomas Nash : second, in 1649, to John, afterwards Sir John, Barnard of Abington, by neither of whom had she any children. Lady Barnard died on 17th February, 1669–70, and thus the line of the great dramatist became extinct.
The descendants of Shakespeare's sister Joan (Mrs Hart), claim to be the nearest representatives of the poet.
EDINBURGH, July, 1871.
Persons Represented. ALONSO, King of Naples.
STEPHANO, a drunken Butler. SEBASTIAN, his Brother.
Master of a Ship, Boatswain, and Mariners.
ARIEL, an airy Spirit.
Other Spirits attending on Prospero.
[Exit. SCENE I.-ON A SHIP AT SEA.
Gon. I have great comfort from this fellow: A tempestuous noise of Thunder and Lightning methinks he hath no drowning mark upon him; heard.
his complexion is perfect gallows. Stand fast,
good Fate, to his hanging ! make the rope of his Enter a Ship-master and a Boatswain.
destiny our cable, for our own doth little advanMast. Boatswain !
tage! If he be not born to be hang'd, our case Boats. Here, Master: what cheer?
(Exeunt. Mast. Good, speak to th' mariners : fall to't
Enter Boatswain. yarely, 1 or we run ourselves aground : bestir, bestir.
Boats. Down with the top-mast: yare; lower,
(E.cit. Enter Mariners.
lower. Bring her to: try wi' th' main-course.
[A cry within.) A plague upon this howling ! Boats. Heigh, my hearts! cheerly, cheerly, they are louder than the weather, or our office. my hearts ! yare, yare. Take in the top-sail; tend to th' Master's whistle.-Blow, til thou Enter Sebastian, Antonio, and Gonzalo. burst thy wind, if room enough!
Yet again! what do you hear? Shall we give Enter Alonso, Sebastian, Antonio, Ferdinand, o'er, and drown? Have you a mind to sink? Gonzalo, and Others.
Seb. A plague o' your throat, you bawling,
blasphemous, incharitable dog! Alon. Good Boatswain, have care. Where's Boats. Work you, then. the Master? Play the men.
Ant. Hang, cur, hang! You insolent noiseBoats. I pray now, keep below.
maker, we are less afraid to be drown'd than Ant. Where is the Master, Boatswain ? thou art.
Boats. Do you not hear him? You mar our la- Gon. I'll warrant him for drowning; though bour. Keep your cabins ; you do assist the storm. the ship were no stronger than a nutshell. Gon. Nay, good, be patient.
Boats. Lay her a-hold, a-hold! Set her two Boats. When the sea is. Hence! What care courses. Off to sea again : lay her off. these roarers for the name of king? To cabin: silence ! trouble us not.
Enter Mariners, wet. Gon. Good, yet remember whom thou hast Mar. All lost! to prayers, to prayers ! all aboard.
(Exeunt. Boats. None that I more love than myself. Boats. What! must our mouths be cold? You are a Counsellor: if you can command these Gon. The King and Prince at prayers ! let's elements to silence, and work the peace of the assist them, present, we will not hand a rope more. Use your For our case is theirs. authority: if you cannot, give thanks you have Seb.
I'm out of patience. liv'd so long, and make yourself ready in your Ant. We are merelycheated of our lives by cabin for the mischance of the hour, if it so hap. drunkards. I Ninably.